Frequently Asked Questions
Audio playback consists of a file being read from the hard drive and played through the sound card. If the audio playback is experiencing skipping, stuttering, or pauses in audio playback, it is due to a computer or other hardware related resource issue. Keep your broadcast/air systems free from extraneous applications and build them to the recommended specs to avoid system resource issues.
When the playback issue occurs, open the Windows Task Manager (right-click on the Windows task bar or press ctrl-alt-delete) and go to the Performance tab. Then go to the Resource Monitor to see the performance meter of the CPU, Disk, Network, and Memory tabs. One or more of the graphs may show that resource running at maximum 100%. Expand that resources list to see what service or application is using the most of that resource.
A spiked CPU will make all operations of the computer slow to respond.
If Simian is the process causing the CPU to be running at max, it’s likely due to the Log > Display Runtime & Position Info or Log > Display Backtime to Mark features enabled. These features are processor intensive due to the runtime calculations needed. Use these only when needed to measure the timing of a section of the log and disable them when done.
Prior to Windows 7, it was recommended to run processors in single core mode. In the Windows Task Manager Performance tab, one bar graph for the CPU indicates a single core mode, two or four graphs indicate multicore mode. If the CPU is spiked in Windows 7 or later, enable multicore mode in the system’s BIOS or boot.ini file.
An overworked CPU could also be due to poor cooling or airflow to the processor.
An overworked and spiked disk causes a delay of the reading of the audio file from the hard drive. Make sure there are no large file copy or backup utilities running if the disk usage is high or spiked. Sometimes these utilities are running on a different computer on the network and access the air computer’s hard drives for to read or write to.
Large paging files can also cause disks to max out. Consult your IT department if the pagefile.sys is using most of the disk process.
4 GB should be enough to run Simian, Wavecart, and other BSI applications. If the memory is maxed out, close auxiliary applications that are using large amounts of memory
For an broadcast/air computer, all the audio files should be stored to a local drive on the computer and the path to the audio folders should be through the local hard drive’s letter assignment. If audio is stored to a drive on another computer on the network, high network usage and latency will cause read and playback issues. Move the files to the local hard drive and set the path via the local hard drive’s drive letter.
Other issues that can cause playback glitches and such are improper file formats. For wave files, avoid using the following formatting:
- ADPCM – this was the recommend file format in earlier Windows operating systems, but has exhibited playback issues on Windows 7 and later systems. ADPCM is usually a 4-bit depth, which is part of the problem. Convert these to linear PCM 16-bit, 44100Hz wav files.
- Non-16-bit formats – wav file formats can use a variety of file formats, from the 4-bit ADPCM codec to a 32-bit float, usually found in default Audition wave format settings. Convert anything that is not 16-bit depth to 16-bit.
- Variable Bit Rate MP3 files – Variable bit rate files may not experience audio playback issues but will report incorrect lengths. Only use constant bit rate for mp3 files.
- Different encoding and file formats used - early generations of audio cards had trouble overlapping audio files encoded at different bit rates. Use a uniform file format at recommended bit rates to avoid these issues.
Audio database libraries greater than the recommended limit of ten thousand create a database file size that is exceptionally large and may cause Simian operation to pause while the database is updating. Please refer to the following FAQ article on SoundHound setup and audio library structure and troubleshooting:
SoundHound recommended setup & troubleshooting